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Woodstock Adm. Adj. Court - Part 4

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Woodstock Adm. Adj. Court - Part 4

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 17, 2012

Can a resident win a court case against the vehicle impoundment ordinance and get a refund of the $500? What happens, if you do get such a ticket under this ordinance, is that you have the "opportunity" to fork over $500 to the City as a bond and get your car back. Then, if you want to argue your case, you go to Woodstock's own court and proceed to a hearing. Do not negotiate with the City's prosecuting attorney before court.

On June 13 a case was heard in the Woodstock Administrative Adjudication Court regarding a resident who was stopped for a seatbelt violation. During the traffic stop, the officer determined that the driver was operating the motor vehicle on a suspended license, and the vehicle was impounded.

But there is more. The couple was on the way to the hospital, as the woman in the car was having labor pains. So let's see, here; what's important? Getting to the hospital or getting a ticket?

The woman wanted to drive (she had a valid license), but apparently the officer would not let her drive. So he impounded the car and an ambulance was called.

OK, grab your calculator...
Impound fee: $500
Tow fee: $150 (est'd.)
Storage costs: $100 (est'd.)
Ambulance fee: $500 (est'd.)

Oh, yes, and the cost of the ticket for driving while suspended and the seatbelt ticket.

Total? Somewhere far north of $1,000.

The couple (the new mom was holding "her lawyer", the newborn) argued their case before Judge Eterno without the assistance of a lawyer, and the vehicle's owner was found Not Liable, meaning they get the $500 back.

Perhaps the City should give a written Notice to each person before court, warning them that they will be called out of the courtroom by the City's attorney and offered an "opportunity" to negotiate a deal before court starts. People arriving for court have not yet been told that the person calling them out is the City's attorney and the person will be prosecuting them. I understand he tells each person that, but perhaps it's fairer to put it in writing.

Nothing above should be construed as "legal advice". I am not a lawyer. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney about your rights.

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